New development cooperation strategy increases focus on defenders of democracy and independent journalists
The Swedish Government has adopted a new five-year strategy for development cooperation for human rights and freedoms, democracy and the rule of law. This strategy is an important part of the implementation of the Government’s new reform agenda for development assistance and contributes to free and inclusive democratic societies built on respect for human rights and freedoms.
Democracy, human rights and freedoms, and the rule of law are essential for freedom, security and the continued development of society. At the same time, we see storm clouds gathering. Democracy is in decline for the seventeenth consecutive year, which gives rise to increased oppression and conflicts. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine is a clear example of this.
Another is the way authoritarian states are undermining fundamental human rights and freedoms and using new digital technology for oppression and to spread disinformation.
“With this strategy, the Government is placing greater emphasis on the individuals around the world who fight for their freedom every day. We want to help those living under oppressive systems. Unfortunately, we see that democracy is headed in the wrong direction. That’s why Sweden has to do its part. We will do what we can to support the positive forces that exist,” says Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell.
The strategy outlines the Swedish Government’s increased focus on supporting defenders of human rights and democracy, free elections and independent journalism, in comparison with the previous strategy. The allocated budget for the strategy in 2024 is SEK 900 million. This budget is set out by the Government each year.